LONDON — The parents of Toga — the infant penguin whose disappearance last month was followed around the world — have laid a new egg, British zookeepers said this week, prompting dozens of well-wishers to send congratulatory e-mails.
Toga, a 3-month-old jackass penguin, disappeared in December from Amazon World, on the Isle of Wight in southern England. Despite scores of reported sightings and an on-air confession from a man who called a television station to admit to stealing the bird, Toga has not been found and is presumed dead.
Zoo manager Kath Bright said staff discovered last week that Toga’s parents had laid a new egg.
"It’s put a smile back on everyone’s face at the zoo, people were very down after Toga went missing,” he said.
Penguins Kyala and Oscar, both around 3 years old, will share hatching duties for the next 40 days. A penguin chick is expected to emerge in late February.
Owner Derek Curtis said the zoo may hold a contest to name the new chick, but would wait three weeks to assure it was healthy. "We don't want to count our chickens before they hatch, so to speak," he said.
Zoo officials have installed closed circuit television cameras and motion sensors to make sure that Toga's expected sibling remains safely with his parents, who are a rare breed of penguin found on the southern coast of Africa.
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.